Friday, August 29, 2014

Welcome to our new Fulbrighters and Xidian Exchange Professor

As we have in the past few years, this fall we welcome Fulbright instructors in both Spanish (Carlos Yebra Lopez) and German (Sebastian Loewen) as well as our third fourth Chinese instructor from our exhange partner, Xidian University (Zhou Zhenglyu).
Zhou is from Xi’an, China. He is an associate professor of English at Xidian University. He obtained a Master’s Degree in 2004 and remained in the university as a faculty member. He has published over 20 academic papers on language teaching & learning, particularly in the area of English writing. The four books he has authored or  co-authored are A Detailed Analysis of Common Errors in English Writing (2012), A Detailed Analysis of Common Mistakes in Academic Writing (2013), A Practical Course of Interpretation (2013), and A Practical English-Chinese Technical Dictionary (2013). Two more books, one about Chinese culture and the other being a writing course, are to come out this year. He is actively engaged in many research programs.

Sebastian was born in Trier, Germany (which is the oldest city of Germany, founded by the Romans at around 30 BC). He received a Bachelor’s as well as a Master's degree in English, Politics and Education at the Justus-Liebig Universitaet Giessen. Sebastian is excited to teach his mother tongue to MWSU students and hopes to share some of Germany's culture with as many students as possible. A fan of films, he is looking forward to the Modern Languages Foreign Film Series this semester. Besides movies, he likes sports, especially soccer. During his time in the US he hopes to see as many places as possible, attend an NBA as well as an NFL game, and eat a lot of local cuisine.


Born in Zaragoza (Spain), Carlos has devoted his career to the study of language. He first entered a BA (Hons.) in Philosophy (University of Zaragoza, Spain). As a result of this, he chose to specialize in the philosophy of language. He pursued a Master of Arts in Philosophy at University of London. During this period, he also obtained a Master’s in Education (University of Zaragoza) as well as graduate diplomas in German, English and French. He has taught ELE (Spanish as a Foreign Language) in Belgium. In his free time, Carlos enjoys practicing sports (track and field, basketball and swimming), making jokes, reading and writing.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Our Man in China (1): Settling In


            Turn and face the strain.  And I have.  In fact, I believe I have embraced this adventure much
more than I thought I would, but then it’s only been about two weeks.  However, I don’t anticipate any change in my attitude, really.  I am one who immediately knows if I don’t like something (or someone, which doesn’t happen very often).  Anyway, here I am in Xi’an, residing in the middle of the old Xidian University campus.  Kay and Zeph know it well.  I cannot overstate how easy it has been, how smooth a transition, how quickly I have settled into a routine not unlike my routine in St. Joe.  Post-Jet Lag, I have been up by 6 a.m., out the door for my walk to the ‘bucks for a grande iced decaf Americano and croissant.  Back to the apartment, check email, work on syllabi, have some fruit for lunch—albeit dragonfruit, which has stark white flesh with small black seeds, or a peach (mildly, pleasantly sweet with firm white flesh—my fav so far).  Then out and about for the afternoon.

            Out and about has been…well, Yikes!  There are 8 million people in Xi’an (my hosts say 10 mil) and it seems like there are as many vehicles.  I check my phone’s weather app for the air quality reading and, on most days, it has been in the moderate-to-unhealthy range.  At this writing, the air quality is good, with one pic showing a main “ring” (road) around the city center, and haze in the distance.  It is shot from a pedestrian overpass that I often take to get to the super market (Ren Ren Le) and the aforementioned coffee shop.

Traffic at a calm moment
            There is a hierarchy regarding the traffic, though, so getting places can be tricky.  It seems to me that cars are top dog here, even out-ranking buses.  Cars have the right of way.  No mistaking.  Period.  Drivers often don’t look where they’re going and they certainly don’t give a flying…well, they don’t care if you’re coming at them or not.  They take the path, the lane, the turn and never look back.  I took Kay’s bicycle out for a short trip today (my second such outing) and I rode the brake nearly the whole time.  After cars, and with buses a close second, the scooters (all-electric, no gasoline powered) are next.  I can’t tell you how many times I had to stop for some scooter as it came from the side or from behind me.  Maybe I’m too courteous a driver, but, nahhh…these folks are very aggressive.  I’m amazed that there aren’t more accidents.  In fact, haven’t seen one yet.  After bike riders, pedestrians are at the bottom of the totem pole.  When I walk down sidewalks, on the street near the curb, at intersections, I find myself constantly looking over each shoulder.  It’s possible that a car or scooter or bicycle might come up from behind, honking, telling me to get out of the way.  It’s all very fast-paced, not unlike any big city, though.  New York comes to mind.
First Selfie in China with Tiantian

            In emails to a few of you, I have stated many times how nice everyone has been.  Tiantian, Jianhua, and Juan are terrific.  Tiantian took me to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda—Tong Dynasty; 7th to 10th centuries, A.D.—for a day, which was fascinating, gorgeous.  Tiantian translated some of the history of that dynasty, the players, poets, calligraphers, and explorers.  Jianhua has turned me onto some of the local restaurants along the back street of Xidian University.  I had lunch at Juan’s home with Simon and Leo (remember them?).  She’s a great cook and so far it has been my favorite meal—simply down home, family fare with veggies, rice, tofu, fruit—delicious.
            A new friend named Aks (yes, it sounds like the metathesis of “ask” that we often hear) took me for a ride on the back of his scooter.  We went to Metro, which is a combination of Costco/Sam’s Club/Target.  That ride went beyond Yikes.  It was more like, well… Those of you who know me can finish that sentence.  I was able to buy things like olive oil and Italian pasta, and there are many other “western” items that I’m sure I’ll get into.

            The fall semester doesn’t actually begin until September 1st.  My schedule is odd, but I do remember writing Yanping that I would teach what they want me to teach and when.  So, all day Monday from 8:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m.  And then Fridays from 8:30 until about 12:30 (I think.  I’m still working on understanding the schedule of classes, times, length.) Three of the four classes are the same as what Kay taught—Oral English, Written English, and Newspaper Reading.  The fourth is Literature for graduate students.  That one should be fun.  Four courses, six class periods.  No problem.

            It has now been two weeks.  I can say that I’m fascinated by the people, the culture—what I have seen of it, so far—and how children appear to be the same everywhere.  They laugh, they play, and they seem to be in the moment at all times.  Now, if I can just remember to do that often while I’m here.


Welcome to New EML Faculty

Joining EML this fall are three new full-time teachers: Ms. Claudine Evans begins work as a full-time Instructor of French; Ms. Brooksie Kluge is a full-time Instructor of English; Dr. Marianne Kunkel is Assistant Professor of English and new adviser to Canvas and The Mochila Review.

Born of a Belgian father and a French mother, Claudine Evans is a native of northeastern France.She started her career teaching her primary language and culture to non-francophone professionals, notably in the paper industry.She received a Master’s degree in French as a Second Language from the Universit√© de Strasbourg (Alsace, France), and a Master’s in Education Science with an emphasis on Training and Development from the Universit√© de Rouen (Normandy, France). She has taught at MWSU for a number of years, as a part-time, half-time and temporary full-time instructor. Her interest in assessment led her to become a Certified Oral Proficiency Interview Tester in French with ACTFL, the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. In her free time, Claudine enjoys spending time with her family, reading and cooking. She is always on the lookout for good cheeses, whether imported or local. Although she loves living in Missouri, she does miss the local bakeries and artisanal shops of France.

Brooksie Kluge is from Springfield, Missouri, the hometown of both Brad Pitt and cashew chicken--she likes them both.
She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English with an emphasis in American Literature from Missouri State University. Her favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut, she listens to way too much CCR, and her hero is Ellen DeGeneres. Some of her recent conference pieces include “The Wife of Job: Interpretations in Modern American Poetry” and “Brats Will Be Princes? Disney’s Approach to the Boy Market.” The latter was inspired by watching endless Disney movies with her three children: Chloe (8), Jake (6), and Calvin (1). Brooksie’s husband, Bradley, is her source of constant laughter and is a painter and freelance greeting card designer.  They are all excited to get to know St. Joseph and are currently taking restaurant recommendations.

Marianne Kunkel is from Auburn, Alabama. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from Auburn University, and MFA in poetry from the University of Florida, and a PhD in English from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She's the author of the chapbook The Laughing Game (Finishing Line Press), as well as poems that appear in Notre Dame Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Poet Lore, Columbia Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She's currently circulating a manuscript of poems about girlhood and is working on a new manuscript about the few female characters in The Book of Mormon. She's interned at two university presses and worked as the managing editor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's 87-year-old creative writing journal, Prairie Schooner. She's thrilled to be at Missouri Western, where she'll oversee The Mochila Review and Canvas, and she's lucky that her husband, Dave, agreed to yet another move for her career.
Welcome to our new colleagues!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

July Activities


Kaye Adkins participated in the Rocky Mountain Writers Retreat in Grand Lake, Colorado on July 25-28. The retreat brings together scholars of professional writing to develop and share their research. Adkins worked on her current project, a study of the publications of the World War II Office of Civilian Defense.

Dawn Terrick, Director of Developmental Writing and English Instructor, attended the 16th Annual National Summer Institute on Learning Communities at The Washington Center, a public service center of The Evergreen State College July 14-18.  The institute helps teams develop a proposal or create a two-year action plan for learning communities on their campus.  Terrick attended the institute with Chris Bond, Learning Communities Director, and other Western faculty and staff.  At the conclusion of the institute, the Missouri Western Learning Communities Team created a proposal, timeline and pilot project for a new living-learning, theme-based Learning Community model.

Exhibitions/Publications/Peer Review

Marianne Kunkel's poem "Naming Nephi's Wife" from her new manuscript-in-progress was accepted for publication in the Notre Dame Review. Also, her essay about the tradition of libations appeared on Prairie Schooner's website as part of FUSION, a poetry/art collaboration with Ghana.

Jeanie Crain completed the Systems Portfolio review for AQIP (Academic Quality Improvement Program) at Missouri Western.


Ana Bausset-Page attended the Presentation in Honor of Simon Bolivar at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah on July 26th. A PhD student mentored by Bausset-Page read a paper on ¨La carta de Jamaica.¨


Susie Hennessy was elected vice president of the Greater Kansas City Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French.

Elizabeth Latosi-Sawin was appointed to the Board of the St. Joseph Public Library.